Former Moroccan star Aziz Bouderbala gave an interview to Agence France-Presse, in which he expressed his joy over what his country’s national team had achieved.
“We are among the four best teams in the world,” Bouderbala said.
Bouderbala elaborated on his talk about the Moroccan fans, his assessment of the team, and his expectations for the upcoming matches, expressing his happiness for the “Atlas Lions” to play the semi-finals of the Qatar 2022 World Cup in football on Wednesday against France for the first time in history, outperforming the 1986 generation that led him to reach the final price.
How do you live epic Morocco?
“What is happening to us is exceptional. This is a historic qualification, not only for Morocco, but for the Arab countries, especially the African continent. Things are happening here in the Qatar World Cup that we have not seen before, with Morocco qualifying for the semi-finals. Things did not end there, we aspire to reach the final. We are Among the four best teams in the world, that’s amazing, it’s delirium!”
Don’t you feel any regrets about stopping at the round of 16 in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico?
“Yes, yes (laughs)! We always asked this question, our team in 1986 could have gone further, but unfortunately we fell on West Germany, who reached the final. Against another team, and with the quality of players we had at the time, we could have reached the quarter-finals.”
Do you have news from Morocco?
“What’s happening there is crazy! Everyone has been out for three matches. What happened in all the cities of the country was fantastic on Saturday. Not only in Morocco, but in all Arab countries. It’s amazing.”
What do you think of the work of coach Walid Rekraki?
He managed to unite everyone. He played on the mental chord of the players, because he is the same team as Wahid Halilodjic (the Bosnian coach who was dismissed a few months ago). He changed the style completely, to a 4-1-4-1 formation which has been working well so far.
The team conceded only one goal and it came by mistake. Regragui provided confidence, created the atmosphere, and said to them, “Let go of the complex of saying that we are facing the best international teams, with the best players in the world, and that they are from the first category, while we are from the third category.” Never, you guys like them, you play for big clubs like them.”
How do you rate this team?
Morocco has a distinctive style, with quirks. It is the most elusive team in the finals. He lets the opposition have possession, but gets the ball out with short passes and a change of play. I found that Morocco used a lot of vertical play. In two or three passes they reach the opposing team’s 16th box.”
Do you fear exhaustion and absences against France?
“Maybe before, but after the entry of the likes of Badr Bannon, Ashraf Dari or Jawad al-Yamiq, they dealt well with the circumstances. I think captain Roman Saiss will be there. Nayef Akrad, no. But Naseer Mazraoui’s replacement, Yahya Atiyatullah, was among the best against Portugal is on the left, and he passed the ball for the goal.
This team is great. He ran a lot, got a lot tired, with injured players like Hakimi, and even Ziyech who visit the clinic after every match, and Amrabat suffers from pain… every time we say they will collapse. But no, they always play with the same rhythm and the same desire to win.”
How do you expect the semi-finals?
France is the best team in the world right now, the defending champions. Honestly, I think all Moroccans wanted to play France, because we know French football very well, and we love the players. We preferred France to England, the two countries know each other very well.”